Time to take away fescue seed heads to scale back toxins

Forage producers ought to start eradicating seed heads from tall fescue grass pastures quickly to scale back poisonous endophytes that thwart herd well being and income, says College of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Craig Roberts.

Seed heads sometimes emerge by mid-Could in most of Missouri’s tall fescue pastures. They comprise 5 instances extra ergovaline than leaves and have little nutritive worth, says Roberts. In early summer season, seed heads may turn out to be contaminated with ergot, a extremely poisonous fungus that grows on the seed. Ergot infects most grasses and small grains, not simply tall fescue.

There are a number of methods to take away seed heads: 1) Baling earlier than seed heads kind; 2) Clipping seed heads and resetting paddocks; 3) Chemical spraying.

Early hay manufacturing lets the plant rebound and produce new leaf progress. Clipping paddocks permits the grass to remain in a vegetative, leafy state longer. Clipping ends in grasses which are increased in vitamin and digestibility.

Use a management-intensive grazing system that encourages cows to rotate by small pasture paddocks. Don’t let cattle graze too quick.

Fescue toxicosis prices Missouri’s beef business alone greater than $160 million annually in diminished weaning weights, conception charges, each day achieve and milk manufacturing. Cattle run excessive inner physique temperatures and respiration charges and expertise diminished blood move, which may trigger lameness and lack of hooves within the winter.

Research present that clipping see heads will increase common each day good points in stocker cattle and improves being pregnant charges and calf weaning weights.